The comedy-podcast universe is ever expanding, not unlike the universe universe. We’re here to make it a bit smaller, a bit more manageable. There are a lot of great shows, and each one has a lot of great episodes, so we want to highlight the exceptional, the noteworthy. Each week, our crack team of podcast enthusiasts and specialists and especially enthusiastic people will pick their favorites. We hope to have your ears permanently plugged with the best in aural comedy.
Couples Therapy - Aparna Nancherla and Jo Firestone
There are three things that saved me Tuesday night: infused whiskey, avoiding the news, and this week’s episode of Couples Therapy. I’d like to personally thank hosts Naomi Ekperigin and Andy Beckerman and their guests, “good friends and great comedians” Aparna Nancherla and Jo Firestone, for providing the perfect balm to Election Night dread. And given that Election Night is more like election week, this “GOOD VIBES ONLY” episode remains an essential tool in your November survival toolkit. Nancherla and Firestone being “depressed but beloved” comedians gives us a winning combo of contemplation and curiosity, and the warmth and comfort between these four close friends cooks up “self-soothing” fun that never ventures into the political atmosphere. Instead, they commemorate over the harrowing tales that come with being an anxious pet parent and learn some “quirky”/questionable new things about their friend Jo. (She believes you can tell if a stranger has baked a cookie by its taste and is taking oils to “fix [her] personality flaws,” for starters.) Not many things could get me laughing out loud on election night, but this celebration of friendship, oddities, and joyful distractions sure did. —Anna Marr
Tig and Cheryl: True Story - 20 Feet From Stardom
If there’s one positive we can dredge up from the pandemic’s stifling impact on live performances and film and TV production, it’s that comic Tig Notaro and Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Cheryl Hines have started a delightfully wry podcast where the two friends recap a new documentary each week. Fresh off of reviewing the immensely rewatchable Metallica therapy session Some Kind of Monster, this week’s Tig and Cheryl: True Story has them covering a very different kind of rock doc: 20 Feet From Stardom. The 2013 Academy Award winner for Best Documentary is a thoughtful meditation on fame and a wonderful showcase of back-up singers who went unheralded for decades, but here it’s just a great excuse for Tig to share several on-set stories about being famous but not being treated like it. Getting mistaken for a background actor upon arriving on set? Hey, it happens. Shuffled to the extras’ trailer for make-up touch ups despite having spent the whole day shooting a scene? It’s classic Tig. —Pablo Goldstein
Tiny Victories - Jazzgasm
Bright spots of light and laughter are beginning to break up the gloom, doom, and dread that is omnipresent in 2020, and one of the latest glimmers comes in the form of Tiny Victories, hosted by actress Annabelle Gurwitch and comedian Laura House, which is in its second week. It’s just a short sparkle — episodes are about 15 minutes long — and the tiny victory that House shares in this episode is about the choice of omitting the fact she is not a jazz fan when she signed up for an online dating service. As fate would have it, she ended up getting matched with Brian Swartz, a Grammy-nominated jazz trumpeter and former member of Oingo Boingo, and they’re now engaged. It turns out that House also is not a Lord of the Rings fan, which comes as a blow to her co-host, as Gurwitch loves J.R.R. Tolkien with passion. The two get quite a lot of mileage out of what turns out to be a budding love affair with the jazz genre, because House saw vocalist René Marie perform live and experienced what she came to learn was called — and is the apropos title for this installment — a jazzgasm. —Marc Hershon
The Roast of Your Teenage Self - Matt Rogers
The Roast of Your Teenage Self host Alise Morales “combines tragedy and time to get to the comedy of errors that was your — and hers — and everyone’s teenage years.” This week Morales invites comedian Matt Rogers (Las Culturistas) to reminisce about some of the most trying years of their lives: high school. Each week, Morales has her guests bring a “teenage talisman” with them to showcase “the unique, but somehow universal, tribulations of being a teen.” Rogers has a few photos (which you can peep on Twitter) with him that depict a typical-sounding high-school party and bring back memories of friendship, unrequited love, coming out, and growing up. There is also a string of track camp pictures where, as Morales notes, “each of these girls represents a very specific early 2000s track girl style.” “They would all grow up to be really good co-host on The View,” jokes Rogers. With Rogers uninterested in any of these girls romantically, Morales transitions to celebrity crushes. Rogers’s first was Justin Timberlake, who he “hated” because of “a deep, deep desire to, you know, put my mouth on him.” Equal parts funny and relatable, this podcast provides a perfect trip down memory lane. —Becca James
Other Podcasts We’re Listening To:
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